Being born and bred in the north of England, I am no stranger to consistent ‘cold and wet’ weather reports in the height of July; it is a legitimate risk to plan anything outdoors without a back-up plan in any typical Summer month. My preferred season would be an endless string of Summer, and maybe the odd Autumn where the brilliant colours of nature burst into motion. But, naturally, we don’t and can’t control the often erratic weather. The writer of Genesis got it right when they said, ‘As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease’ (Genesis 8:22). We are subject to Earth’s biosphere and patterns for as long as we live here!
But, what about the imagery of seasons in how we describe the junctures and events of our lives?
At our Sunday gathering last weekend, Dave Belfield began to explore thoughts of how we enter different seasons of life, sometimes through the charting of our decisions, and sometimes because that is where we find ourselves without choice. Many times, uncertain and unsettling weather blows through the atmosphere of our family, work and leisure, and our instinctive response is to seek shelter or protection. When this happens, we often are dazed, confused and displaced.
Dave highlighted that perhaps the season we find ourselves in isn’t the problem, but rather where we choose to position ourselves in the midst of it. Stepping out of shade in forty five-degree heat without any sun protection or a hat is a bad idea for most people. Deciding that it’d be an adventure to go kayaking before an impending storm at sea is a dangerous idea. Attempting to fly a kite without wind is a guaranteed disappointment. We can’t simply escape the seasons of life or act like they’re not happening, but we can position ourselves to experience joy and join God in his mission in every season.
When babies, engagement rings, new job offers and grandchildren come along, it’s easy to hibernate and become absorbed in the season. It’s easy to make decisions based on our season, rather than our convictions. Dave said, ‘To pull back from purpose, to go or not to go, to give or not to give, to serve others or not to serve others… it comes by simple drift’- drift never comes from overt choices, but from daily decisions that slowly move us away from the course we deeply desire. Drift quietly works whilst we float away, often non-consciously robbing us.
If our purpose is to grow into the likeness of Christ, we must be assured that this restoration work can continue in all seasons, all weathers and all circumstances. If it is our current practices that lead our lives, consider these questions:
How do I view or describe my current ‘season’?
How are my current decisions taking me closer to God and his mission?
What is my position in this season showing my children, my spouse, and my friends?
Author: Rachel Calland